I never knew the purpose of a hooded sweatshirt until I moved to Nebraska. Quite honestly, I do not think that I ever owned one prior to going to work at the feed yard. My closest is now full of them, and I wear them daily.
The wind across the Great Plains region of the country is merciless. A breeze is defined by wafts of 30 mph, and we have days where it blusters past 60 mph. A hooded sweatshirt is my best friend when the Nebraska winds doth blow. It protects me from the cold, the dust, and the snow that sometimes sweeps in an angry horizontal pattern across our valley.
When the winds top 60mph, I start to think that in addition to my hoodie, I also need weights in my boots. Those are the days when it seems impossible to stand up straight and I tend to stumble around bracing myself against the gales. As I do chores, I try to distract myself by thinking fondly of Mary Poppins, but mostly my eyes water – my face stings – and my back hurts from the effort.
My cattle appear to deal with the high winds much better than I do.
- Perhaps it is the fact that they have four feet on which to balance…
- Perhaps it is because they outweigh me by 800 pounds or more…
- Perhaps it is simply because they are tougher than I am!
Whatever the reason, they seem content to rest behind a windbreak, have a bite to eat at the feed bunk, or run around playing with each other as if nothing is out of the ordinary.
Last week the cold north wind blew and blew and blew. Thursday afternoon the gusts topped 60mph, and the weather was just plain ghastly. Thankfully there was no snow — instead we had dust storms with dirt and remnants from harvested corn fields blazing across our farm.
I was tired when I got home Thursday night, and eternally grateful for the reprieve that the structure that my home offered. I found myself thinking about the pioneers who trekked across the Great Plains living in wagons and building sod houses when they decided to settle.
As unforgiving as the Nebraska weather is at times, I cannot imagine the tenacity and grit required to survive in those early days. It makes me thankful for my warm home, and all of the technological advancements that protect me from the elements and help me to care for my animals.
As we head into the heart of the windy winter season perhaps I should heed the advice of Abraham Lincoln rather than putting weights in my boots…
When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on!